On January 21, Governor Cuomo delivered his tenth Executive Budget Address, proposing a $178.6 billion spending plan and strategies to address a $6.1 billion projected budget deficit. Fiscal highlights of the budget include:
- Continuing to cap the growth of Medicaid spending to three percent,
- Increasing School Aid by $826 million (three percent),
- Providing $7.8 billion in State support for higher education in New York (a 29 percent since FY 2012), and
- Continuing a phase in of a Middle Class Tax Cut for nearly five million New Yorkers (saving them more than $1.8 billion this year)
- The Governor pledged $33 billion over five years to combat Climate Change, an ambitious $275 billion infrastructure plan, an aggressive strategy and investment in housing and services for the homeless and
$157 million to expand the Empire State Child Tax Credit.In light of the recent anti-semitic attack in Monsey, the Governor will invest an additional $25 million for religious and non-religious not-for-profit organizations that are vulnerable to hate crimes.
The most highly anticipated announcement of the address relates to Medicaid spending. Cuomo announced he will address the Medicaid shortfall by reinstating the Medicaid Redesign Team (MRT II) to propose $2.5 billion in savings to be in place by the April 1 budget deadline. In addition to capping growth at three percent; the Governor provided local governments with the incentive of reaping 25 percent of the savings should they come in under the three percent cap.
Executive Budget legislation has been introduced and lawmakers will begin examining the details before introducing their One House Budget proposals sometime next month. Negotiations will then begin in earnest as the State Budget is due April 1.